CRRRaSh! 294 Doctor Who: Planet of the Daleks

By Roy Mathur, 2019-12-23, at 23:56:19 to 00:32:15 GMT, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

'Twas the Night Before the Night Before Christmas

'Twas actually the middle of the afternoon when Roy awoke utterly knackered, but poetic licence... You see, he had awakened early that morning; far too early, ate his breakfast, then fell back asleep. Giallo levels of orrore when he realised that the tree still wasn't up, the veggies not shopped for, and, man, there was a huge amount of household crap to do (though this isn't a novel situation). Worse, he hadn't watched his daily quota of Who, which meant no show notes, which meant no podcast. And so, Roy put his skates on and Red Bull'd it. (Metaphorically of course, because he is really quite useless at ice skating. Remember The Incident of the Knee?)

Doctor Who: Planet of the Daleks (1973)

Cast and Production

Third Doctor: Jon Pertwee
Jo Grant: Katy Manning
Director: David Maloney
Writer: Terry Nation
Producer: Barry Letts
Fourth serial of tenth season, following Frontier in Space, 6 x 25 mins, first broadcast from 7 April to 12 May 1973.

On This Day

Anne-Marie David of Luxembourg wins with Tu te reconnaitras in the 18th Eurovision Song Contest held in Luxembourg—double whammy you very very small country of brimming with international corporate tax avoiders.

Number one in the UK singles chart was Get Down by Gilbert O'Sullivan, an awful poppy pap of a song with horrible lyrics by a man with an unfeasibly hairy chest.

Something important also happened in cricket. No offence to connoisseurs of willow whacking, but I had to suffer through the game at both at school and socially due to peer pressure, so it is with great satisfaction that I tell you how little I care for the absurd pastime that is as agonisingly slow as waiting in a doctor's waiting room for the dreadful confirmation of a diagnosis of terminal nose hair.

What Happens

The injured Doctor has sent a message to the Time Lords and then falls into a frozen state. Jo records the situation using the TARDIS log. They land, but the monitor is plastered with something black and gooey fluid. Jo leaves and the TARDIS is cocooned in the goo. Jo finds a Thal spacecraft. The crew offer to help and rescue the Doctor from suffocation.

Jo is poisoned by a plant, then rescued and healed by a native invisible Spiridon. It is this invisibility that the Daleks are trying to develop by experimenting on the enslaved natives.

The Doctor is captured, taken to the Daleks' underground base, and later escapes to discover thousands of Daleks hidden in a cave. The Doctor and the Thals subotage the hidden cave causing it to flood and putting the Daleks into suspended animation.

The Thals return home to Skaro in to their spaceship and the Doctor and Jo escape in the TARDIS.

What I Thought

I was surprised that we didn't directly pick up where we ended in Frontier in Space. Instead we moved to another planet and joined another group of people fighting the Daleks.

Jo's rescure by an invisible alien chap, who swaddles her in furs was very Barbarella.

There is an awfully sexist scene when the Thal leader tells his girlfriend that her recent arrival may cloud his judgement. Okay, chauvinistic perhaps, but understandable as he is concerned for her safety. However, here is where it actually gets sexist and unpleasant. He adds that her prescence may lead to his mission's faiure; he's actually blaming her! The most irritating thing is that she then apologises.

The creature design was good. There was the spore squirting tentacle lashing eye plants and the tall Dalek gold leader with the antenna-like lights. I also liked the blonde Thals' spacesuits; loosely reminiscent of a much more modest version of the suit worn by the woman gracing the 1981 cover of Brother To Demons, Brother To Gods by Jack Williamson. I liked the invisible Spirodons with their colourful skin capes, and the design of their facial features seen when Wester dies, which would have been easy to avoid showing, but the audience's curiosity and long patience was finally rewarded towards on the end.

There were plenty of great practical effects, like the lifting ramps, the explosions, the spaceships, jungles, ancient ruins, ice tunnels, and the miniature set of the underground Dalek hoard and the flood which eventually overcame them.

On the other hand, there was a particularly useless TARDIS recording log prop, that was actually just a circuit board glued into a cassette tape case; whoever designed that wasn't fooling anyone. Maybe the prop maker was on work experience.

Jo's semi-romantic interlude and homesickness for Earth was foreshadowing something that is to come. However, the reason I know this for certain is more to do with fact that I distinctly remember seeing this and the following serial before the rewatch.

The Doctor says, "Don't make war sound like an exciting and thrilling game" to the Thal leader. I was impressed that the Doctor thought it important to pass on that last pacifistic piece of advice to the victors. It changes the theme of the serial from a simple hard won battle to a lesson in not glamorising war.


The extras video says that episode 3 was black and white only 16mm because the original tape had been wiped until it was restored to full colour in 2008 by Legend Films using computer colourisation and released on DVD in 2009.